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Stephen Fry on Ros na Rún? Jeeves does Gaeilge? You couldn’t make it up. But then Stephen Fry, the polymath, is excited by minority languages and obsessed with his iPhone. So maybe he downloaded the latest iPhone app, Buntús Cainte, which lets you hear those rich vowels and see the text in English and Irish.

You could take your iPhone to an Ogham stone to decipher the inscription (there’s bound to be an app for this soon!). Irish is one of the oldest written languages in the world, and there are now more ways than ever to experience it through listening, reading, and talking. Check out Foras na Gaeilge’s bilingual site,, Conradh na Gaeilge’s site or the award-winning website and blog These sites tell you about language courses round the country, as well as about lectures, festivals, youth clubs, and outings.

The number of Irish language speakers keeps growing – 1.66 million people in the Republic of Ireland according to the 2006 census, compared to 1.57 million in 2002, and the growth rate in Northern Ireland is even higher. Hook up with these Irish language lovers at an event or a language course. The IMRAM festival celebrates modern Irish language literature; Cnoc Suain, in the heart of Connemara, offers Irish language programmes for groups. Or simply head to any of the Gaeltacht areas and immerse yourself in the language.

Irish language sign on teh Aran Islands

Irish is the first language on the Aran Islands

Irish Signposts

Irish Signposts

Bodhrán Players National Craft Gallery.  Courtesy of the CCoI Carrying the currach ashore on the Blasket Islands Display of Irish candles, courtesy of the CCoI. Bodhrán Players
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